What are Peptides?
To fully understand what peptides are and how they function within the body we have to review some of the basics first.
Peptides play a part within the endocrine system, otherwise known as the hormonal system. Yet to understand what part they play, it is best to identify a few of the key players that are essential, without which none of the functionality would be possible.
What is an amino acid?
Amino Acids and Proteins, much like the one pictured to the left are the"building blocks" of life. Much like some of the toys you may have seen your children play with at Kindergarten, amino acids attach themselves to other amino acids in different variations and numbers to form compounds such as proteins, peptides and peptide hormones. When proteins are digested or broken down, what is left are the amino acids. Amino acids are essential to life because the proteins they form are involved in virtually all cell functions. Some proteins function as enzymes, others as antibodies, whilst some provide structural support.
What is a Peptide?
When 2 or more amino acids bond, they form a molecular structure which is called a "Peptide". So long as there are less than 500 amino acids within this structure, it will be considered a "Peptide". Once the string contains more than 500 amino acids, it is then usually considered to be a "Protein". Many say a Peptide is really just a small protein.
What is a Protein?
A protein is created out of a string of 500+ amino acids. Proteins play critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein's unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.
What is a Peptide Hormone?
Peptide Hormones are proteins that have endocrine (hormonal) functions. Some create metabolic performance enhancements by communicating with the body to trigger the release of Growth Hormone (GH) into the blood. When this occurs the benefit shows in our ability to readily build lean muscle and release stored fat.